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Mike Grego has led education efforts in Hillsborough, Osceola and at the state level.

Mike Grego, the man who successfully steered Florida's request for a waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements, threw his name into the ring this week to become Pinellas County's next school superintendent.

Grego, a former Hillsborough County assistant superintendent and Osceola County superintendent, served for five months as Florida's interim chancellor for K-12 education. He was also charged with handling the waiver request, which was granted by President Obama earlier this year.

In his application, Grego describes the Tampa Bay area as "my longtime home and will always be home to me, my wife and my children."

Grego applied for the Pinellas superintendent spot once before in 2008, but instead took the job with Osceola schools. In an interview Thursday, he said that decision was largely based on timing, as there were multiple superintendent positions open at the same time.

"It was a tough choice," Grego said, "but it was the right decision to make."

Grego left his post leading Osceola Schools last year following what the Orlando Sentinel reported was a conflict with the School Board chairperson. He was also a finalist for Hillsborough's top job in 2005, when MaryEllen Elia was selected.

Grego, who currently lives in St. Cloud and is an associate professor at the University of Central Florida, joins 32 other applicants seeking to replace John Stewart who leaves in December. The job pays $225,000-$275,000.

The deadline to apply is July 2.

Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at (727) 893-8707 or

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Fast facts

Who's applied

To see a list of other qualified applicants for Pinellas County school superintendent, go to